"If you have guys that don't want to play in primetime, then you don't have the right guys." -- Collinsworth
ELI & SUPER BOWL CHAMPION GIANTS HOST REDSKINS ON THURSDAY NIGHT "NFL OPENING KICKOFF" ON NBC � SPECIAL, EARLY 7 PM ET START
PEYTON & THE COLTS OPEN NEW STADIUM VS. BEARS IN "NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL" DEBUT
"It beats the hell out of the alternative. If you play a lot of night games, you're a good team." � Madden on Primetime Games
"If you have guys that don't want to play in primetime, then you don't have the right guys." -- Collinsworth
NEW YORK � Sept. 3, 2008 � Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning and the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants host their NFC East rival the Washington Redskins tomorrow night on NBC at a special early start time of 7 p.m. ET. In a tradition that began in 2004, the Super Bowl champions annually host the NFL Thursday night "NFL Kickoff" the following year. Al Michaels (play-by-play), John Madden (analyst) and Andrea Kremer (sideline reporter) call the action.
"NBC Sunday Night Football" opens its third season Sunday night with Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts hosting the Chicago Bears, in a rematch of Super Bowl XVI, as the Colts christen Lukus Oil Stadium. Coverage on NBC begins at 7 p.m. ET with "Football Night in America" highlighted by the reunion of Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann. Patrick and Olbermann join Bob Costas (host), Cris Collinsworth (co-host), Jerome Bettis (analyst), Tiki Barber (analyst) and Peter King (reporter).
"SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL EXTRA": The 17-game Sunday Night Football schedule will be available to fans on NBC as well as streamed live on NFL.com and NBCSports.com, marking the first time complete NFL games will be widely available in the U.S. via live online streaming.
The live NFL.com and NBCSports.com coverage will come from NBC's TV coverage of Sunday Night Football. Complementing that stream will be a number of extra features to enrich the viewing experience including additional camera angles, in-game highlights, picture-in-picture technology, live statistics and other interactive elements. "Sunday Night Football Extra" will also include in-game studio updates from NBC's Football Night in America team and NFL Network.
KREMER ON "SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL EXTRA": "The intent going in would be to have the type of reports that we would do on television, but due to the circumstances in the game, we would be able to get the information online taking into consideration that people watch games differently now than they did before."
FRED GAUDELLI ON "SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL EXTRA": Along with Andrea's observations off the sideline, you will be able to look at five distinct different camera angles to watch the game: from Cable Cam, if you wanted to; with this particular game, if you wanted to follow Plaxico Burress or a Jason Taylor for the whole game, you'll be able to do that. Everything gets watched a little bit differently now than they did five years ago, let alone 20 years ago. This is just the next step."
NBC today conducted a media conference call with Fred Gaudelli (producer, Sunday Night Football), Michaels, Madden, Kremer and Collinsworth. For a complete replay, dial 719-457-0820 and enter passcode 6191741. Highlights follow:
MADDEN ON PLAYING IN PRIMETIME: "It beats the hell out of the alternative. If you play a lot of night games, you're a good team. When I was coaching, my players liked it. If you looked at our records on Monday night, we did very well. It was the only game, everyone was watching. I think that down deep, players are really showoffs. They know that most of the people are watching them and that gives them something extra. Maybe they don't talk about it, maybe they don't say that, but I think they feel that. As a coach, I wanted those games. I wanted national television games, because I knew that if we got chosen for them, that we were good and that our players were going to play well in them."
COLLINSWORTH ON PRIMETIME GAMES: "If you have guys that don't want to play in primetime, then you don't have the right guys- that is just the bottom line. I think it helps prepare you. Primetime games feel the most like playoff games. You want that kind of the world-is-watching pressure to prepare for when it really matters, which is playoff time."
GAUDELLI ON THE SEASON KICKOFF: "We have, along with NFL, planned a really special final tribute to the Giants' Super Bowl championship that's probably going to air between 7:00 and 7:02, so I would encourage everyone to watch that. I think the Giants' crowd will really erupt when they see how that Super Bowl championship is going to be celebrated one final time before we kick off the season."
MICHAELS ON SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL SCHEDULE: "It looks like the good teams [from last season] will be good teams again. So, I'm excited when I look at our slate of games. I looked down the schedule, these are all of the games that people want to see. I can't wait to get started. Tomorrow's going to be a lot of fun. Anytime you start with the Super Bowl champs in an NFC East rivalry game, it's going to be great. We're stoked and ready to go."
KREMER ON THE GIANTS: "You just get a sense sitting with Eli and Tom Coughlin, they're so geared for this season, but the confidence of winning the Super Bowl definitely has carried over to where they are right now."
MADDEN ON THURSDAY SEASON KICKOFF: "I'm just so happy the way the NFL starts now with a celebration. Years ago that was the one thing that I was always upset with. We just kind of rolled into it and had our first game. I remember baseball always had big things with opening day, and we never celebrated the start of football. And now we are, and I think it's a great celebration.
"The Giants, the world champs, playing at home, their crowd being there the first time since they won the championship, being able to welcome their team on the field. I think that's great."
COLLINSWORTH ON THE GIANTS: "I'm just glad John reminded me that the Giants won the Super Bowl because I forgot. All I've been hearing about is the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Jets, the Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville and San Diego. I just can't remember a time when a Super Bowl champion has sort of gotten less respect going into a season than the New York Giants. They beat the undefeated New England Patriots. They were 18-0. They were playing brilliantly. I thought they were the best team I'd ever seen. So this team's got something going for it."
COLLINSWORTH ON "FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA: "The Football Night in America show, we've come a long way, baby. We went from having Cris Collinsworth doing the highlights in the first year to having Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann do them now, the greatest highlights team of all time. We're awfully excited about that and can't wait to kick it off."
COLLINSWORTH ON CHAD PENNINGTON: "Pennington's not going to give that game away. You know what they're going to do with Parcells, they are going to shorten the game, they're going to run the football, they're going to try and play some defense, they are going to have a whole different look. But Chad Pennington is a manager of the game, and he's a professional quarterback. And they have not had professional quarterbacks down there in the past two, three, four years. He is at least going to not beat them, and that is a major step forward at that position."
MICHAELS ON CALLING A SUPER BOWL: "It's the pinnacle of this business, and when you get into this business, you always hope to have the chance to do the big games, no matter what it is, the World Series, the NBA Finals, the Stanley Cup Final or the Masters. And obviously in football, this is the game, so it will be number seven for me, and it will be number three for John and me. The great thing about having a season where you're with a network that does this, you go through the year and it just doesn't end abruptly as it does for us normally with the wildcard game. And you're gone and then a month later you're at home on your couch watching the Super Bowl. You know you're going to be down there. You're excited about it. You're excited and you anticipate it."
MICHAELS, MADDEN & COLLINSWORTH ON FAVRE:
MICHAELS: "It still does look weird. It's Joe Montana in a Kansas City uniform, Wayne Gretzky in a Los Angeles Kings uniform, it's Michael Jordan in a Washington Bullets/Wizards uniform. It takes you a while to get used to it. Especially being here in New York and seeing posters and a lot of stuff in the newspapers. At least the color is the same. It's not as if he went to a team that's in red, that would really be disconcerting. He's been great for the guys in the media. He's been very accessible and a lot of fun to cover. I think there is a part of almost all of us who wanted this to work out best for him. He'll always be beloved in Green Bay, obviously some day they will retire his number there. He'll always be a Green Bay Packer. But right now he's doing what he wants to do, and I'm happy for him. I hope he has some success this year."
MADDEN: "I was really surprised the way this whole thing came down. I was surprised first of all that he retired, because he was always so amazing. As long as he was healthy and he had a chance to win, he was going to keep playing. I was more surprised when he retired than I was when he said he wanted to come back, because I never thought he would retire. I was also surprised when they couldn't work something there at Green Bay. I know that everything he did wasn't perfect, and I know that everything the Packer organization did wasn't perfect but I just thought if it got down to this, who would you rather have, Aaron Rodgers or Brett Favre, that, to me, would be easy. I would work out something to keep him there."
COLLINSWORTH: "I still think that Aaron Rodgers, if he stays healthy for 16 games, can take the Packers to the playoffs. I've been impressed with him. I think he understands that offense, I think to some extent he probably plays that offense a little bit more the way Mike McCarthy envisions that offense, a little more ball control, little more not-take-the-big-chances. The hard part for me to understand, when it comes to the Packers' decision is, you don't put teams like this together very often. You don't put yourself in the situation where you're just a handful of plays away from going to the Super Bowl the year before and now say, 'we're going to go with an unproven quarterback and two rookies, as opposed to Brett Favre.' It seems like a big roll of the dice."
MICHAELS ON AN NFL TEAM IN LA: "I'm more hopeful than ever that something is going to happen here. There seems to be a movement afoot to maybe get something done sooner rather than later in Los Angeles. When it's going to happen? I don't know, but I would think within the next four or five years, at least they'll be something. At least there'll be a pile driver going into the ground somewhere, the stadium ready to go up.
MICHAELS ON IF HE'D BE AROUND TO SEE A TEAM IN LA: "Please, God. We may be coming in with our walkers, but we'll be there."
SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Al Michaels, the commentator called "TV's best play-by-play announcer" by the Associated Press, is joined in the "Sunday Night Football" booth by John Madden, the most honored NFL broadcaster of all time with 16 Emmy Awards, and on the sidelines by Andrea Kremer, whom the Los Angeles Times has called "the best TV interviewer in the business of covering the NFL."
"FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA": Bob Costas, the most honored studio host of all time with 19 Emmy Awards, hosts NBC's "Football Night in America" studio show alongside co-host Cris Collinsworth, the most honored studio analyst in history; co-host Keith Olbermann, named one of the Top Ten Most Powerful People in TV News for 2007 by Television Week; newcomer and co-host Dan Patrick, reuniting him with Olbermann who together redefined sports highlights during their time together on ESPN's SportsCenter from 1992-97; and analysts Tiki Barber, a three-time NFL Pro Bowler for the New York Giants, and Jerome Bettis, one of the most popular players in recent NFL history. Peter King, who covers the NFL for Sports Illustrated and is considered one of the country's foremost NFL reporters, serves as a reporter for the "Football Night in America" studio show.
NBC's 2008 NFL SCHEDULE:
("NBC Sunday Night Football" kickoff, 8:15 p.m. ET preceded by "Football Night in America," 7 p.m. ET)
Thursday, Sept 4 � Washington at New York Giants*
Sunday, Sept. 7 � Chicago at Indianapolis
Sunday, Sept. 14 � Pittsburgh at Cleveland
Sunday, Sept. 21 � Dallas at Green Bay
Sunday, Sept. 28 � Philadelphia at Chicago
Sunday, Oct. 5 � Pittsburgh at Jacksonville
Sunday, Oct. 12 � New England at San Diego
Sunday, Oct. 19 � Seattle at Tampa Bay
Sunday, Oct. 26 � No game scheduled due to World Series Game 4 (FNIA airs 7-8 p.m.)
Sunday, Nov. 2 � New England at Indianapolis
Sunday, Nov. 9 � New York Giants at Philadelphia
Sunday, Nov. 16 � Dallas at Washington (Flex Week, Teams Subject to Change)
Sunday, Nov. 23 � Indianapolis at San Diego (Flex Week, Teams Subject to Change)
Sunday, Nov. 30 � Chicago at Minnesota (Flex Week, Teams Subject to Change)
Sunday, Dec. 7 � New England at Seattle (Flex Week, Teams Subject to Change)
Sunday, Dec. 14 � New York Giants at Dallas (Flex Week, Teams Subject to Change)
Sunday, Dec. 21 � San Diego at Tampa Bay (Flex Week, Teams Subject to Change)
Sunday, Dec. 28 � Flex Week � teams TBA
*Special 7 p.m. ET start time